CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – Guardians Manager Terry Francona is set to manage his final home game in Cleveland Wednesday night. Fans are encouraged to come to his final hurrah which will have free t-shirts and discounted ticket prices.
Terry Francona said he didn’t want any type of big send-off but there’s no way this city and team can’t honor this man. Tito has never even actually announced his retirement but Tuesday he joked that now that there are t-shirts made there’s really no going back.
Wednesday night the Guardians will hand out 20,000 ‘Thank You, Tito’ T-shirts before the series finale against the Cincinnati Reds. On top of that, upper reserved seats are reduced to $11 to commemorate the 11 years Tito managed the team.
Francona will leave Cleveland as the winningest manager in team history with over 900 wins. He led the Guardians to 6 postseason berths, including a run at the World Series in 2016.
Francona has surgery scheduled for the offseason and says he’s looking to get healthy again. He says he wants to be able to enjoy life after baseball.
It’s likely the Baseball Hall of Fame will be next for Francona, who had success in Boston winning two World Series before coming to Cleveland. Francona said he is grateful for the 11 years he spent here in Cleveland, calling it an honor of a lifetime.
“Part of the joy of this job is coming to the ballpark, seeing the same people every day,” Francona said. “Doing the same thing. I’ve enjoyed that and I’ll do it until the last game. Then after that, I won’t pack up for next year or give it away and go home.”
Over the summer, Team President Chris Antonetti said they would have loved for Tito to manage as long as possible but the most important thing is his life after baseball and making sure he gets to enjoy every moment with his kids and grandkids for a long time.
As for the off day Thursday, Francona said he will visit the casino before the team heads to Detroit for the final series of the season.
The first pitch for Wednesday’s home game is 6:10 p.m.